October 6, 2000
S.1536 - Older Americans Act Amendments of 2000
The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 1536, as reported
by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which would
reauthorize and modernize the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965. The
Administration is particularly pleased that the legislation includes the
Administration's proposal to establish a National Family Caregiver Support
Program, a key Administration priority that would help hundreds of
thousands of family members who are struggling to care for their older
loved ones who are ill or who have disabilities.
(Sen. DeWine (R) Ohio and 47 cosponsors)
The Administration is also pleased that the legislation incorporates the
salient features of the Administration's proposal for reauthorizing and
enhancing the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). SCSEP
provides part-time community service employment to low-income individuals
age 55 and older, and assists them in obtaining unsubsidized employment.
The bill would maintain the unique and complementary structure of SCSEP
under which national nonprofit organizations as well as States receive
grants to operate the program, while also strengthening SCSEP by
establishing an enhanced performance accountability system, reinforcing
linkages between SCSEP and the broader workforce investment system
established under the Workforce Investment Act, improving the planning
process to promote an equitable distribution of projects within States, and
incorporating uniform fiscal accountability provisions.
In addition, the Administration supports the inclusion of many other
provisions in S. 1536 that would strengthen and improve OAA services
provided to America's older persons, including the provisions to protect
the targeting of services to older individuals with greatest economic and
social need, acknowledge culturally appropriate services for Native
Americans, maintain the priority for legal services, and allow cost-sharing
where appropriate. The Administration applauds Congress' efforts to
prepare the aging population for the challenges of the 21st century by
providing new flexibility throughout the Act and authorizing a White House
Conference on Aging in 2005.
The Administration appreciates the bipartisan cooperation that has
characterized the recent discussions of the Older Americans Act and looks
forward to working with the Congress to achieve final enactment of this
legislation in the weeks ahead.